Stu­dents in­spired by Dryan­dra field work

Narrogin Observer - - News - Michael Traill

The next gen­er­a­tion of con­ser­va­tion­ists gained valu­able hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence last week as bi­ol­ogy stu­dents from Nar­ro­gin Se­nior High School camped out in Dryan­dra.

Nine Year 11 stu­dents study­ing bi­ol­ogy spent two nights con­duct­ing field work as part of their course.

NSHS bi­ol­ogy teacher, Max­ine Clark, says the camp gives stu­dents tan­gi­ble ex­pe­ri­ence rather than just read­ing about sci­en­tific meth­ods in work­books.

“It’s giv­ing them an op­por­tu­nity to be a real-life bi­ol­o­gist and to ac­tu­ally work with peo­ple from the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion, Bio­di­ver­sity and At­trac­tions,” she said.

“They’re learn­ing about how to sam­ple pop­u­la­tions in a bush en­vi­ron­ment.

“We’ve com­pared un­burnt sites to burnt sites, to do a di­rect com­par­i­son.

Year 11 stu­dent Jas­mine Gil­lett says the ex­cur­sion has been ben­e­fi­cial to her learn­ing.

“It is one thing to read in a text book what it’s like (con­duct­ing field work), but it’s an­other thing to be able go out and ex­pe­ri­ence what it’s like,” she said.

“Be­ing here has def­i­nitely opened my eyes to what it’s like (to work in con­ser­va­tion) and is now high up there in what I want to do when I fin­ish school, be­cause I know what it’s like and what to ex­pect.”

Last Mon­day night, the stu­dents went to Barna Mia, an ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­ity in Dryan­dra, where vis­i­tors can get up close and per­sonal with some of WA’s rarest na­tive an­i­mals.

Stu­dents came within inches of threat­ened and en­dan­gered na­tive mar­su­pi­als such as the bilby, woylie, marl, boodie and quenda, while learn­ing about how they’re man­aged by the depart­ment.

For­mer NSHS stu­dent and Barna Mia tour guide, Amy Ge­orge, en­cour­aged stu­dents to get in­volved with con­ser­va­tion.

“There’s lots of vol­un­teer pro­grams avail­able, do­ing mon­i­tor­ing and sur­veys,” she said.

“There’s so many ways to get in­volved — there’s lots of com­mit­tees and projects on the go all the time.”

Pic­tures: Michael Traill

Nar­ro­gin Se­nior High School Year 11 bi­ol­ogy class at Barna Mia.

Some of Barna Mia’s res­i­dents.

A baby pos­sum clings onto mum at Barna Mia.

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